Early in the 18th century Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a Jesuit priest, spiritually advised nuns to actively surrender their wills to God. In the book compiled from his letters, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, de Caussade teaches us to be in constant communion with God that we might do His will for us, not just every day, but every hour and every moment. By reading de Caussade’s book, we learn to receive the blessings of the present moment, whatever it holds, and to walk in God’s will for our lives.
Often in August our brains go into overdrive; we start planning for the hyper-busy months to come. Is this why God gave us August? Is this why He gave us a lush, hot month which just about throws itself at us trying to get our attention with its beauty and abundance? No, August is a time to slow down enough to listen to what God is calling us to do and not do. Soon enough the voices of the world will crowd in with ideas of how we should spend the precious resource of our time. Let us use August to allow God to free us from the dead wood of false obligations and free us to do the things He wills, including re-creating ourselves.
Expounding on Mary’s ability to be present, de Caussade wrote:
Her spirit, ravished with joy, looked upon everything that she was called to do or suffer each moment as the gift of God, who always fills with blessings a heart that is nourished neither by the world nor by fantasy, but by Him alone.
By using God’s gifts for His purposes we grow closer to each other and to Him. When we go our own way we may experience worldly success, but not lasting fulfillment and joy. How often have we been frustrated trying to bring our own plans to fruition, but amazed by how easily work flows when we act on God’s plans? God wants our work to fulfill us and our rest to restore us. He wills all good things for us. August is the perfect month to give God’s plan a try. Let us be present to Him. Let us be absent from regret and anxiety. May we thus realize the gift that God gives us in the present moment.